Scotland face a play-off to reach Euro 2020, but captain and Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson knows the side must improve hugely to make the finals.
Being appointed skipper of his national team was a career highlight which no doubt ranks somewhere as highly as winning the Champions League with the Reds, a source of pride for Robertson.
He’s the finest player in his side with Scotland without question—but the fact is, alongside him are several who are levels below.
It has seen Robertson come in for some strange criticism recently, as though he should be providing the same assists for the likes of James Forrest and Oli McBurnie as he does for Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino—despite the gulf in class and consistency of those forwards.
On Thursday, Scotland were hammered 4-0 by Russia to end any hopes of automatic qualification for the Euros, and the skipper told Sky Sports the focus must be on improving performances before the all-important play-offs.
“That [qualifier] is what we have to have in the back of our minds but just now it’s very hard to focus on that.
“We’re not winning games, we’re not even in games really. The last couple we’ve been comfortably beaten and that needs to stop to have any chance in March.
“We need to keep remembering that we’re only two games away from getting into the Euros but the performances have to improve and we need the full 90 minutes performance and we’ve not done that in a very long time.”
Robertson is hoping to be the first Scotland captain to lead his side to a major finals since the 1998 World Cup, and the first European Championships since two years earlier.
Having won their Nations League group, Scotland can still qualify for Euro 2020 if they win that two-legged play-off early next year.